After the mysterious death of his popular father, young Caligula grows up in the uncertain shadow of his tyrannical emperor and uncle, Tiberius.
The death of Tiberius vaults Caligula to power as Rome's new emperor, a role at which he initially excels -- until an illness unhinges his mind.
Vulnerable without an heir, Caligula decides to secure the throne with a child of royal blood by embroiling himself in affairs with his three sisters.
Caligula's increasing paranoia and debauchery lead to ruinous bloodshed and spending as Rome, the Senate and even former allies turn against him.
After success in war makes Caesar a rising star, escalating tension between Rome's two most powerful men creates an opportunity for advancement.
Caesar's wealth grows as one-third of the triumvirate, but his brutal tactics make enemies, forcing him to remake his image as a military conqueror.
Caesar's hard-won victory over Gaul endears him to the Roman people but leads to a military showdown with the Senate and his former ally, Pompey.
After chasing Pompey to Alexandria, Caesar is victorious in the war, then swiftly makes a powerful new ally and lover in Egypt's ruler, Cleopatra.
His reforms win public adoration, but Caesar's imperial ambitions antagonize the Senate and ill health undermines his authority, sparking a conspiracy.
Fighting an implacable enemy in Germany, Marcus Aurelius trains his decadent son Commodus to succeed him, while rumor and intrigues brew back in Rome.
The Germanic tribes strike as Marcus Aurelius succumbs to disease, leaving a skeptical Emperor Commodus to prosecute a war that doesn't interest him.
Commodus rises to power as Rome's new emperor, but not everyone supports his ascent. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla.
Commodus defeats his sister's coup but withdraws from governing, allowing others to amass power while he engages in an affair and banishes his wife.
A disastrous grain shortage reveals Cleander's treachery and leaves Commodus isolated, inspiring him to train as a gladiator in a bid to unite Rome.
Lavish imperial games at the Colosseum are highlighted by the emperor's bloody victories, but his paranoid abuses of power lead to a final betrayal.